The bright green is two weeks of growth on my tropical lime tree after application of excess nitrogen in the form of waste household Ammonia. Author Eric Worrall

UN: Africa to Use Green Hydrogen to Produce Fertiliser

Essay by Eric Worrall

The UN has been pushing poor, fossil fuel rich African countries to embrace intolerably expensive green solutions to their food production problems.

How Transformative Innovation Can Shift the Needle on Climate Change

15 December 2022

UN Climate Change News, 15 December 2022 – At the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh in November, government delegates and a variety of experts highlighted crucial innovative approaches to tackle climate change notably in the areas of energy, food and buildings at Global Innovation Hub dialogues organized by the UN Climate Change secretariat.

Green hydrogen for the first time in the focus as a major solution to climate change 

At COP27, participants for the first time heavily focused on green hydrogen as a key component of the transformation to clean energy, which is essential to achieve the central Paris Agreement goal of holding global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Whilst representatives of the African countries Mauritania and Namibia explained that their countries were keen to capitalize on the potential of green hydrogen and to develop industries while creating jobs, they also noted a further key area in which green hydrogen can be deployed: boosting food production with the help of zero-carbon ammonia fertilizer produced with the help of hydrogen. Ammonia production is very energy-intensive and presently causes around 1.8% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

“At this stage, exporting hydrogen is challenging in terms of transport and efficiency. Ammonia seems to the be the one of the ready solutions, there is a market already for that,” said Khoumbaly Lebhbid of Mauritania’s Ministry of Petroleum, Mines and Energy.

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Mauritania and Namibia don’t need experimental solutions, they need tried and tested solutions, which can solve their food shortages and poverty. And such solutions are available.

Commercial ammonia production in the West requires vast quantities of fossil fuel. Mauritania has one of the largest natural gas deposits in Africa. Namibia also has large oil and gas deposits. Both nations are struggling to attract investment to develop the resources – but the resources are there, waiting to be exploited.

So why would the UN push something like green hydrogen, which has yet to demonstrate cost competitiveness in the real world?

I suspect, and this is only a guess, that the UN would like Mauritania and Namibia to leave their fossil fuel deposits in the ground. And they might be getting some help from people inside the Mauritanian and Namibian governments.

If Mauritania and Namibia drilled a few gas wells, and used well known, commercial processes to produce Ammonia, they could vastly improve food production almost overnight, as well as producing substantial quantities of a valuable export product.

Dilute Ammonia can be applied directly to plants as fertiliser, without any further processing.

Whenever I wash out the pet room, I sometimes throw the waste dilute Ammonia floor cleaner on my citrus trees. The results have been spectacular – in my subtropical back yard, my fruit trees put on inches of growth whenever I apply the ammonia. The ammonia doesn’t seem to build up in the soil, my guess is any ammonia which isn’t absorbed simply evaporates or washes away.

But Ammonia which evaporates from fields is a greenhouse gas. And the production of Ammonia releases large quantities of CO2, both to compress the gasses to the enormous temperature and pressure required, and from steam reforming fossil fuel to produce hydrogen, one of the components required for Ammonia synthesis.

N2 + 3H2 = 2NH3 (Ammonia)

I don’t know why Khoumbaly Lebhbid of Mauritania’s Ministry of Petroleum, Mines and Energy, whoever he is, is speaking in support of UN plans to divert his nation into an unproductive dead end like green ammonia production.

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Henry Pool
December 17, 2022 10:30 am

Not a good idea to bring that dangerous stuff into Africa. With all the hydrogen embrittlement and all that. There is no problem, anyway…

Last edited 1 month ago by Henry Pool
Gary Pearse
December 17, 2022 10:47 am

“I don’t know why…”.

You only have to pay one person to get the deal done.

Steve Case
December 17, 2022 10:55 am

I don’t know why Khoumbaly Lebhbid of Mauritania’s Ministry of Petroleum, Mines and Energy, whoever he is, is speaking in support of UN plans to divert his nation into an unproductive dead end like green ammonia production

An unproductive dead end is the goal. Once again, as was posted here on WUWT a while back, “Nobody can be that stupid for this long, it has to be the plan.

And this appeared here some time ago:

 Black Lives Matter
Except in Africa

Reply to  Steve Case
December 17, 2022 1:12 pm

Some, Select [Black] Lives Matter in America, in Africa… on a past, present, and progressive basis.

abolition man
Reply to  Steve Case
December 17, 2022 2:39 pm

That which can no longer be explained by ignorance must be credited to malevolence!
I’d say that the racist streak running through GangGreen grows wider every day, but they seem to hate humans of every color equally; except, of course, for the ruling elites and the bleating herds that follow them! Why else the tacit acceptance of human and sex trafficking?

Peta of Newark
December 17, 2022 11:03 am

simply everything is wrong

Humanity is soooo doomed

Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 17, 2022 1:14 pm

A twilight faith, an ethical religion, men and women who would be mortal gods. Take a knee, beg, “donate”. Your Choice… uh, choice.

Frank from NoVA
December 17, 2022 11:06 am

‘Whenever I wash out the pet room, I sometimes throw the waste dilute Ammonia floor cleaner on my citrus trees.’

Thanks for the additional detail, Eric. When I initially read the caption on your photo, I had the impression that you were simply peeing on your trees, not that that wouldn’t work too.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 17, 2022 4:58 pm

My brothers and I, faced with a smelly backyard dunny, would sometimes line up at the top of the back steps for a final leak before bed. We also had a target bare patch. We used to compete for greatest distance, but the young fella had chronic kidney problems, always came last, so we stopped competing so he did not feel so bad. Don’t know what would have happened if we had sisters. Geoff S

Rud Istvan
December 17, 2022 11:17 am

The innumeracy here is stupefying. A quick inter new search finds that H2 from steam reformed natgas costs about 1.25/kg for a normal large facility such as would support scale ammonia production. The cost of H2 from scale electrolysis is about $6/kg (e from normal grid), oover 4 times as much. Green H2 from renewables would be significantly more because intermittency means electrolysis capacity severe underutilization.

So Africa thinks it’s a good thing to make nitrogen fertilizer costing >> 4x more than what it now pays? Bet its farmers disagree.

Curious George
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 17, 2022 2:38 pm

 “electrolysis capacity severe underutilization”
I am not sure about an economic impact of this. Initial costs will be amortized more slowly. Is there any other factor?

Reply to  Curious George
December 17, 2022 5:22 pm

None other than the windmills will be long dead before their cost, & the ammonia plant cost have been amortized by hydrogen production.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Curious George
December 18, 2022 7:22 am

Electrolysers operate less efficiently when not operated under constant conditions. Plus it is never going to ake sense to invest in capacity to use the maximum wind surplus, which will occur rarely overnight at minimum demand on a windy day, so you wind up with curtailment which is an added cost.

Michael in Dublin
December 17, 2022 11:46 am

If a Western nation flashes millions of dollars in front of most African leaders they will accept the money and terms without carefully and critically examining if the deal is really good for their country. The money will always beguile them because of their greed. They will not see that this will futher impoverish their own people. Aid to Africa has been an unmitigated disaster. The more money they get the less accountable they become.

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
December 17, 2022 2:37 pm

It’s the warlords, don’t ya see?

President Bill Clinton at McDonald’s – SNL – YouTube

Last edited 1 month ago by Gums
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
December 17, 2022 9:08 pm

Thank you for telling us how corrupt and incompetent African leaders are. For a while there, we thought all that “aid” come as unpayable loans, forced upon our poorly armed governments by sophisticated financial hitmen and the nuclear-tipped army behind them.
But now I know we are just stupid and venile.
How would we ever learn, without the far-off wisdom of soyboys who know how to solve all Africa’s problems, maybe we should all emigrate to your side, so we can better see what’s wrong this side?

December 17, 2022 12:08 pm

Africa will get those “reparations” to pay or it…..and maybe use some blue ammonia too….variety is good.

Last edited 1 month ago by antigtiff
December 17, 2022 12:16 pm

How do you get Hydrogen without using a massive amount of energy produce it?

December 17, 2022 12:20 pm

I’m sure the African peoples would love to develop their living standards using the fossil fuels they have in abundance beneath their feet – some African leaders may also love to do the same, however, the UN, WEF etc are not so keen on this

They prefer a poor Africa, an Africa dependant upon Western aid, an Africa isolated from Chinese, Russian etc investment, an Africa whose growing population does not devour their natural resources, thereby denying the Western elites of them

It is true much of the Wests foreign aid gets hoovered up by NGOs and country regime leaders and never actually gets to the starving, disease riddled, thirsty masses – for many decades, billions in aid have flowed into the continent, yet the suffering of the peoples is as bad today as it was 50 years ago or more

At flop27 this year, the new talk was of climate reparations, basically billions more foreign aid, albeit by a different name – it seems some African leaders and the Western cabals are more interested in more of the same, than any genuine fossil / nuclear fuelled energy revolution – this will just ensure the continents peoples remain hungry, thirsty, poorly and 3rd world, while all those abundant fossil fuels remain sterilised for future global interests, or are exported westwards

China, Russia etc are already embedding in many African nations and declaring the natural resources as theirs

i would hope to see Africa one day, sharing the same electrified benefits the west has for the last 200 years – not covered by miles of useless wind & solar farms, but with a fully interconnected, fossil fuel & nuclear powered grid, with all peoples connected and enjoying their electrical & gas fuelled futures

Reply to  Energywise
December 17, 2022 1:19 pm

Transnationalism is already embedded effecting redistributive change schemes with benefits for special and peculiar interests in minorities.

Paul Hurley
December 17, 2022 1:22 pm

The UN has spent the past 60+ years making a royal mess of Africa. This “green hydrogen” play is just more of the same. 🙄

December 17, 2022 1:43 pm

I noticed that it is estimated that 1,8 %of the worlds emissions are from manufacturing nitrogeous fertilizer .
So what . That is a very small price to feed 4 billion people .
Don’t these clowns know that half of the worlds population is fed with the extra food grown with nitrogen fertilizer .
It is high time that the facts are put in front of these people because other wise any restriction on nitrogenous fertilizer will result in wide spread starvation .

Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 17, 2022 2:11 pm

It is now the time to show this madness to the world .
There are only two choices .
Famines of gas produces Nitrogen fertilizer .

Reply to  Graham
December 17, 2022 6:41 pm

There are only two choices.
World wide famines because of lack of nitrogen fertilizer .
Or enough food grown using nitrogen fertilizer produced with natural gas .
Green hydrogen is expensive and also dangerous .
Why even try when there can never be the amounts of fertilizer needed to feed the world .
All that will happen is that the green produced fertilizer will be more expensive and that will hurt the countries using it .

B Zipperer
Reply to  Graham
December 17, 2022 9:28 pm

Sri Lanka is the current poster-child for the necessity of synthetic fertilizer
and maybe not kneeling to the god of ESG.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 17, 2022 9:00 pm

Correct Eric. WE are the carbon they want to reduce.

December 18, 2022 12:16 am

I suppose that after the outstanding success of the U.N., since 1948, of bringing clean water, shelter, santization, nutrition, and medicines to all Africans, we should all sigh with relief that they’ve taken on this relatively minor task.

Last edited 1 month ago by dk_
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